Halloween is usually a fun time for kids and parents alike. The neighborhood comes alive, decorations come out, and children contemplate costume choices. If you have kids, it’s a safe bet you’ll have access to a treasure trove of candy (with the kids’ permission, of course…). And if you have more than one child, you can enjoy them discovering the joys and dilemmas of the bartering system. If one of your kids has a food allergy, like my daughter, the trading game takes on new challenges.
My son has long since learned he gets all of the candy my daughter can’t have (nothing with dairy, peanuts, or tree nuts) — but he has to forfeit an equal amount of his haul that is safe for her. Over the past several years though, thanks to the growing awareness of Teal Pumpkin Project®, my daughter has fewer pieces of “noncompliant” candy.
What is The Teal Pumpkin Project?
The Teal Pumpkin Project, which we’ve promoted for years, exists to raise awareness of food allergies, as well as creating beacons for children searching for safe treats during their tricking adventures. FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is an excellent resource for parents and families with food allergies, but it really helps kids during “candy season” with a page dedicated to safe ideas for non-food treats for the little ghosts and goblins. The site has some great suggestions, not only for cheap “prizes,” but also how to make kids with food allergies feel welcome. Here are some non-food suggestions from FARE:
- glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
- Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
- Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
- Mini Slinkies
- Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
- Bouncy balls
- Finger puppets or novelty toys
- Spider rings
- Vampire fangs
- Mini notepads
- Playing cards
Please be mindful that some non-food treats contain food allergens too. One common example is modeling clay, which sometimes contains wheat. Further, check non-food treats for latex, which is also a rather common allergy.
Don’t misunderstand us, we’re not saying no candy ever. Instead, we’re advocating some basic safety precautions. Let’s make trick-or-treating more inclusive. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.